Many law firms make the mistake of thinking that if they have a website, clients will be able to find them through Google or other search engines. However, the truth is, cultivating leads from your online presence isn’t that simple. Just like in real life, your online success depends a lot on the first impression you give to potential clients. That makes it essential to ensure you make a great online first impression – one that your clients won’t forget.
However, how can you make that impressive online first impression through your listing, website, or other materials? It might surprise you to learn that putting your best foot forward online is as easy as implementing a few simple steps into your online presence. Read on to learn about three ways to make a great first impression.
- Get Client Reviews
- Update Your Google My Business Listing
- Modernize Your Website
1) Get Client Reviews
How many times have clients come up to you and said, “Hey, I saw what your clients said about you, and that’s why I decided to make the call,” or “My friend recommended you, so I decided to give you a call”? The truth is, your online presence works much in the same way.
One of the first things people look at when searching through your firm’s online presence is what other clients have said about your services through the reviews on your listing. Not only does this lend credibility to your brand, but it establishes a sense of trust.
So, one of the first things you need to do to create that great online first impression is to ask your past clients to leave reviews. Ask for reviews on Google or Avvo, or even Yelp. Google is undoubtedly the most powerful since its information is the most readily available. You can also automate this process of asking for reviews by utilizing a service that will provide links to your clients’ email addresses.
Don’t be afraid of a few negative reviews, either. While positive reviews are always something to strive for, it’s hard to please everyone – and potential clients understand this. Imagine a firm that has a 4.7 out of 5-star rating with reviews that outline its integrity, effectiveness, and experience. Potential clients will likely look at the few negative reviews this firm has, but if the firm’s positive reviews outweigh – and outnumber – the bad, they’ll understand that the negative reviews are miscellaneous and not indicative of your services as a whole.
2) Update Your Google My Business Listing
Google My Business is the business page Google creates for your firm, detailing its location, reviews, your website, and other pertinent information. It’s one of the most powerful tools you can take advantage of when creating your online first impression because many clients will rely solely on it when exploring your firm. Not to mention, it allows clients to search for firms within their area, making this an optimal tool for gaining local clients.
To utilize the advantages of your Google My Business listing, you need to claim it. If you type in your firm name and see a small panel to the right of your browser that says, “Own This Business?” this means you haven’t claimed your listing yet. Follow the instructions on Google to complete the process.
Once you’ve claimed your Google My Business listing, you can enter pertinent information to help guide clients to your firm and services. The more you can fill out your profile, the better the chances your firm has of getting discovered. When you claim your Google My Business listing, you can enter information such as:
- Firm name
- Hours of Operation
- Practice Areas
Many people tend to forget about the category of practice areas for their firm and miss out on opportunities to gain clients who are looking for their specific types of services. Listing the right category or categories for your business is one of the most important sections to fill out when creating your online first impression.
If you’re a family law firm, for example, Google My Business has three or four different categories for “divorce lawyer.” You can choose between “family lawyer,” “divorce service,” “divorce lawyer,” or others. Without entering this information, you could be missing out on people who are looking for your specific services. You won’t show up for estate planning or personal injury, for instance, if you’re just listed as a general lawyer.
3) Modernize Your Website
The third thing you should look at when building your online first impression is your firm’s website. Reconsider its design through the eyes of a potential client. What would you be looking for in a law firm? Some of the most vital information to include on your homepage could be:
- Your mission and photo. Giving potential clients a face to put with your name, and a mission to match will help instill initial trust, making clients more likely to contact you.
- Contact information. This is one of the essential pieces of building your online first impression since it gives clients a way to follow-up and enlist your services.
- Client testimonials. Google isn’t the only place you need to display reviews of your firm. Highlighting some excellent testimonials on your homepage can help potential clients feel more comfortable enlisting your services.
- Certifications & awards. Specific certifications or groups you’re involved in that collaborate with your services can establish your credibility right up front.
- Prices. This piece is optional for everyone, but if your client-base is concerned about costs, it might be helpful to give them some estimates. There are subtle ways to indicate you deal with high-end or complex cases, such as stating you work with “successful” or “high-net-worth” clients.
Overall, your homepage should be clear about who you serve, what kind of practice you run, and how to get in touch with you. Your potential clients should never walk away from your homepage wondering what your practice is or what you can do for them. Make the language easy to understand for someone who doesn’t know the ins and outs of your firm to establish that effective online first impression. Explain the information as you would if you were at dinner with a friend, or in an initial consultation.
Your homepage is your virtual handshake and elevator pitch. Other components of your website are essential, but what the client lands on when they first enter your website is all-important for that first impression you want to create. Ask yourself these questions to make sure you’re telling clients what they need to know:
- Does my homepage accurately reflect me and my practice?
- Does my homepage paint a good picture of me, possibly with actual pictures?
- Does my homepage illustrate my brand?
- Does my homepage have testimonials?
- Am I putting my best foot forward when it comes to my online profile?
If you answered no to any of these questions, reevaluate your homepage and where you want to direct clients.
Creating a great first impression is relatively simple and can make all the difference in gaining leads from your online resources. By garnering reviews from past clients, claiming and filling out your Google My Business profile, and reimagining your homepage, you can be sure to make the most from your online presence. Never underestimate the power of your online first impression; it might just be the best way to get new clients.
About Shawn Leamon
Shawn Leamon is the Chief Strategist of LaGrande Marketing.
Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, he received his Bachelor of Arts in both Economics and Philosophy from Dartmouth College. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Spain’s IE Business School, where he focused on international finance and venture capital. Before launching his own firm, Shawn worked as a credit research analyst at J.P. Morgan and subsequently helped manage $1.1 billion in client assets at Bernstein Global Wealth Management.
Shawn maintains remarkable insight in the realm of divorce, having been recognized as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. He built DivorceAndYourMoney.com from 0 to almost 1,000,000 annual visitors.
In his personal life, Shawn loves to push his physical and mental limits as an ultra-endurance athlete. An avid traveler, Shawn spends time between his offices in Dallas, New York City and Hanover, New Hampshire, and can often be found wandering the globe, having visited over 20 countries.
Shawn can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.